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Doctors strike in Catalonia, Spain.

Image Credit: Reuters/Albert Gea

On Tuesday, hundreds of doctors from Catalonia, Spain took to the streets to protest the current work conditions, amid a surge in coronavirus cases. Doctors were seen holding banners and chanting ‘enough is enough’. Natalia Roses, a doctor that was protesting in Barcelona said :

We’re asking gor help, because we cannot give people the resources they need to be treated during this COVID pandemic.

Natalia Roses.

The Metges De Catalyna Union, that represents around 6,000 public doctors called the strike. The Union is asking the government to pay them better, and hire new doctors to make up for the increased workload. A series of budget cuts in the last decade has drastically reduced their salaries. In the capital city of Spain, Madrid, the situation is a perfect example of the country’s healthcare system. Due to the financial crisis, Spain lowered the quality of healthcare, in a series of budget cuts that started back in 2009. Back in 2018, several people reported that there were longer waiting times, shorter appointments and poorer-quality equipment.

In 2018, Amnesty International researched the effect of austerity measures on the right to health in Spain. Their conclusion was that the austerity measures had a severe impact on the accessibility, affordability and quality of health in Spain. In this context one could understand more why the situation in Madrid has spiraled out of control. It is believed, that the healthcare system is on the verge of collapse, with shortages in staff and resources in general. The situation in Madrid could be expected in Catalonia, which is in the beginning of the second wave. Madrid is currently under a state of alarm, which was declared last Friday, in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus.

Catalonia could be facing a crisis in a few weeks, if the number of cases continue to increase. New restrictions are to be imposed soon, in an attempt to reduce gatherings and travelling. The University Professor Jose Enrique Gallego said,

I think health personnel are the ones with the most reasons to go on strike with the way things are today.

University Professor Jose Enrique Gallego

As of Tuesday, the total number of coronavirus cases is 896,086 and 33,204 deaths.

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